3. A-Z Challenge. Recovery Edition. A is for Advocacy.

This A-Z challenge featuring mental health is inspired by: Milly’s Guide

So, technically, the A – Z challenge was featured in April. Well, too bad, I’m doing it in MAY. For mental health. Or is it?

Technically, I want my version to be about the recovery theme, which is essentially substance use disorders and mental health awareness, but it’s a slight difference either way. Rather than focus on the struggling side of mental health, I want to challenge myself to look for the accomplished side of mental health and recovery and inspire other people to take a look at their own journeys in kind. So, let’s get started! (seriously I should totes be paid to do this, it’s my third post of TODAY. THAT’s RIDICULOUS! AND I still have to make some Youtube themed videos. Maybe I’ll do only a few times a week with that account and go HAMMERTIME on this one)


 

So, we’re looking at A for Advocacy.

What is advocacy? It can easily be misconstrued as activism which is more of a political/government oriented change for a system, whereas advocacy is more about speaking out about a subject matter. Sharing stories. A voice in the darkness.

If you’ve followed me for as long as I’ve started blogging, you’ll know that I am a big shameless self-promoter about advocacy. And if you’re new, I’m writing these mental health themed passages in a way that welcomes new people and figures you don’t know much about me – unless you read my about me, but I still have to update that. Probably not today. Lmao Too much writing has been had today

Either way, welcome. Have some tea, have some cookies, pick up your baskets of arms for hugs and have a good time here.

It’s only natural then for me to re-introduce myself. My name is Raquel Lyons, I am an artist of all trades, I do photography, creative writing (I love fanfiction), bracelets, scrapbooking, painting, watercoloring, drawing, coloring. I am a psychology BS major at UMass Boston, in my first senior year, I should graduate next year in spring. I love dogs and am begging my parents to get us a new family member in the form of a dog-like creature. I go to a doggy playtime area every Sunday for nearly a year now where I play with dogs. I don’t have one anymore, and I don’t work there, I literally just go to pet other people’s dogs. That’s me.

I love gazebos and I’ve recently discovered I believe they’re called ramadas. Or is it pavilions? Damn. I am a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Especially Loki. Oh yeah, Loki. *nods* I love color, rainbows, unicorns, the universe is mind boggling to me. I’m bisexual, more attracted to women as of the last year and there are a lot of attractive women on my campus which sucks because I think a lot of them are straight. Lmao

And I’m too much of a bi newb that I can’t tell who likes who.

I want to dye my hair a fancy color, the ends mostly and like blue or purple or something. I want to do that this summer. (I think women with fancy colored hair are like soooo attractive so I think this will up my own attractive level XD)

I love tennis, ping pong, soccer, and still, I think of doggos. Sigh. That theme of a post will be explored another day. I blog, I ever so occasionally vlog, and I’ve been on WordPress for almost a year now.

My blog got its name from a group I created on DeviantART about recovery to wellness. And such began my brand naming there on out. I have a Youtube channel under the same name which I will be updating as this month goes on. I like making videos. I think I could be really good at film work.

All of this is to say, that this is what makes me me. Of course, there’s a mental health side to things.

I live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on self-harm and suicide obsessions, secondary depression, trichotillomania, and some traits of borderline disorder. I am in recovery from self-harm mostly in the form of scratching. I actually have lost track of how long it’s been (a few weeks) since the last time I scratched myself. I’ve made four suicide attempts, though I don’t consider myself a suicide attempt survivor. I essentially live with chronic suicidality. Which is difficult at times to be living with.

This is all to say that advocacy is a HUGE part of my recovery journey. One of my dreams is to give a TEDtalk presentation about my recovery journey. And about my helping efforts in the realm of recovery and suicide prevention.

I have projects like #RecoveryHome and Recovery Restoration that I want to see succeed during my lifetime. I have ideas and dreams about writing a novel and maybe a memoir and definitely recovery-art themed books. I love books, by the way. #1 weakness. That and stationery. Fucking love stationery.

#RecoveryHome is about an art therapy based project where individuals create their own recovery homes imagined or incorporated into the real world from their substance use disorders or mental health conditions. It’s a place to be imagined and loved and created and to keep one’s mind focused on better days to come because they will come and to enjoy the process of creating those days rather than focusing on all the bullshit in one’s world.

Recovery Restoration is another art therapy based project in which individuals share artwork of any kind that they made that represents their recovery journey and mental health story. They are bundled in photo albums that will later be donated to psychiatric units. It’s a peer support idea. I’m actually going to be trying to prototype it out at my university’s counseling center. Fingers crossed on making that a thing over this summer.

And also, there is August which I’ve officially declared as #WWRRM which stands for Worldwide Recovery Recognition Month. Our mascot is a unicorn. And our logo is the sun with my slogan on it. And the ribbon has been decided. I will show a picture down below. Red is for substance use awareness, green for mental health and silver for the universe or unicorns or stars or whatever you would like to think of it as.

IMG_00004093

Advocacy. In terms of advocacy, I am a proud and loud advocate. I share my mental health story regularly. I am a presenter in the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts In Our Own Voice presentations. I’m even a peer-to-peer trained mentor for their recovery course for people who live with mental health conditions.

I have this blog. And a Youtube. And a twitter.

I write in my school newspaper about mental health, mainly my own. Maybe I will turn part of this post into a future one for the fall. I like that.

I’ve become very comfortable sharing my story. I don’t ever consider how people judge me for it. Maybe that’s a blessing. I’m just not aware that people are, unless it’s mentioned, I don’t know. And it’s probably better that way.

I don’t feel I have to hide, unless with neighbors or extended family. I can just be me, flaws and all.

That’s what advocacy has done for me. It’s given me a voice to share and many platforms to share it on. I know that I help people with my voice. And I will continue to do that service until I no longer can.

Thank you, my friends.

❤ ❤ ❤

4 thoughts on “3. A-Z Challenge. Recovery Edition. A is for Advocacy.

  1. Pingback: 5. Recovery A – Z Challenge. B is for Bravery – #blog4mh | recovery to wellness

  2. I really like how you made the distinction between activism and advocacy. I think sometimes there is such a focus on systems change (also important), for me it is the on the ground sharing, informing and educating in my real world and online communities that I find more important and impactful. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your world and life with this post. Looking forward to reading more. ~Karen

    Like

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